Hengel is recognised as a specialist player in the design of premium refrigeration equipment for freezing, rapid cooling, preservation (chilled and frozen) and controlled fermentation intended for the bakery-pastry industry. Since then, the company, which is now managed by Denis Bigot, has been targeting the food service sector such as artisan bakeries, mass distribution and industry both in France and internationally.
In order to reduce its carbon footprint, in 2012 Hengel implemented the Blue Pulse® approach which involved developing and continuously improving the performance of its products with constant research based on energy savings, sustainable development and eco-design.
Hengel controls the entire manufacturing process of its refrigeration equipment: from design to industrialisation, including sheet metal work, injection of polyurethane foam for the insulation of the chamber and the refrigeration part of the equipment.
To improve the efficiency of the equipment, three factors are key, as Dr. Younes Matar, Technical and R&D Director at Hengel, reminds us: temperature, hygrometry and aeraulics.
In order to achieve the performance of a machine, refrigerants also play an important role, particularly in terms of efficiency and since the introduction of F-Gas : « Choices had to be made on transition refrigerants to quickly replace R-404A in the face of the quota mechanism put in place, which led to problems with availability and price increases. Mindful of this impact, we started to work in parallel on long-term solutions but it was not easy because we are the last link in the chain and depend a lot on the strategy of component manufacturers (compressors, expansion valves, evaporators, etc). In deep-freezing, for example, it was difficult to reach an evaporation temperature of -42°C with the refrigerants on the market. Today, we are starting to see things more clearly and we can make strategic decisions and work on the launch of our future ranges » stresses Dr. Younes Matar.
The introduction of new technologies such as CO2, A2L or A3 classified refrigerant fluids also requires them to review the design of their machines to comply with legislation, to carry out tests to find out the behaviour and performance of the new refrigerants in their various equipment and to study the impacts on the manufacturing line. To do this, dedicated resources are required.
For supermarket systems and the food industry with medium and large capacity systems, CO2 is an important development area for Hengel to offer proofing chambers and freezing tunnels that can be easily connected to the central refrigeration plant network. However, this solution is limited and cannot meet all the needs of its customers.
For smaller equipment, such as « plug in » units, « The option of A2L refrigerants is more in line with our expectations today » emphasises Dr. Younes Matar.
For the past year, Hengel has been working on the Solstice® L40X (R-455A) solution proposed by the producer Honeywell and distributed by Climalife.
Medium temperature field tests have been carried out for conservation chambers with a power of 2 to 4 kW and the results are very good. The drop in temperature is very rapid and no installation problems have been noted. Additional tests are currently being carried out on units currently housed.
For equipment operating with semi-hermetic compressors of much higher power, tests are also being carried out. It is necessary to take into account the refrigeration part as a whole, including the temperature glide especially at the evaporator. On the deep-freeze part, the arrival of R-455A expansion valves on the market makes the work easier and « we will be able to finalise our range of products and adapt them accordingly in order to be able to go down to an evaporation temperature of -42°C for bi-temperature units -35/-20°C for example » concludes Dr. Younes Matar.
In 1983, the Hengel company was founded to develop a patent for a "bread and pastry freezing machine". The first RS deep-freezer was developed and many innovative patents were registered in the following years. Located in Parigny in the Auvergne-Rhônes-Alpes region of France on an industrial site with a production area of 3500m², the company is currently experiencing double digit growth, particularly through export development and the takeover of the Marrel Réfrigération company in 2019.
Hengel operates in several sectors of activity: bakery, pastry, hotel and catering, supermarkets and chocolate, as well as other specific applications such as medical, pharmaceutical and those where it is necessary to implement process solutions to freeze, cool or preserve products in controlled atmospheres.
« Our aim is to offer refrigeration equipment in all sectors of activity where we operate with a very low GWP refrigerant, ie less than 150. ».
« R-455A 's end of life compression temperature allows it to work in the same application ranges as R-404A including deep freezing ».
Dr. Younes Matar,
Technical and R&D Director
HENGEL in brief: